Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn says the players would've have taken 50 per cent wage cuts if they had been relegated last season.
Unlike neighbours Newcastle, Sunderland had relegation clauses in their players' contracts and the majority were set for pay-cuts of up to 50 per cent if they too had dropped to the Championship.
Quinn said: "We had it planned for quite a while that relegation would be put more on the players than the staff here.
"It wouldn't have been a knee-jerk reaction to do that. The players' salaries would have been trimmed, not the staff and we had a survival plan in place.
"You don't feel so sorry for the player who has to go and drive his Ferrari out of the gates. We were determined we would have that plan in place.
"Now we try very hard when it comes to relegation clauses for the players. We've probably got to the stage where we're 90 per cent there and for new players now, we would insist on it."